SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (BP)--If you know much about basketball, you probably know what a “give and go” is. It’s when I pass (“give”) the ball to my teammate, and then instead of just standing there I cut (“go”) toward the basket -– hopefully leaving the opponent guarding me behind -– and then I receive a return pass and score.
I remember when our coach first taught my elementary school team “the old give and go.” It was as if we had a new secret weapon. Most of the kids our age were still at the stage of “standing around” a lot, simply passing the ball and trying to open for a long shot. When we added the motion of “give and go” to our game, our effectiveness as a team reached a whole new level.
I have “given” to missions causes most of my life. Perhaps you have too. But have you discovered the spiritual power and richness of adding some “go” to your “giving”?
My family and I went on a “family mission trip” that was a pilot project of the North American Mission Board in early July. We’ve had great experiences on various adult mission trips and youth group mission trips before -– but this was the first time we’ve all been able to go as a family. About 200 others joined us in eastern Kentucky, from families of all different kinds. There were families with first-graders, families with teenagers (like ours), single-parent families and grandparents with their grandkids. There was even a “family” of four widows who came to be known as “the golden girls.”
Because of careful preparation by our North American Mission Board and year-round faithful service by a number of our missionaries in Appalachia, there were carefully prepared projects and educational experiences for everyone. In the evenings I had the privilege of speaking during the worship services that helped remind us why we were there.
I know of four people who prayed to receive Christ as their Savior that week. And our service through the food and clothing ministries there and projects like neighborhood outreach and home repairs will strengthen the ongoing ministry of the missionaries for months or even years to come. Mission Service Corps missionary Lonnie Riley, who directs the ministry there, told us about a mission team from Ohio who helped them build an outdoor classroom for the local school. As a result, that next Christmas the missionaries were invited to share the Christmas story in the school –- and 44 children and their family members prayed to receive Christ. Lonnie said one of the first people he called was the leader of the Ohio group that built that classroom.
It’s amazing what God will do with a week of your life when you give it to Him for even a short-term mission trip. Did you go on a mission trip this year? Do you have one planned for next year? Contact your association, state convention or go on the Web at http://thebridge.namb.net/ or http://going.imb.org/ and let our mission boards match you up with their other priority needs.
It’s true that not everyone can go –- but today there are more opportunities than ever for Christians to be actively involved in the mission of God.
So if you feel like you’ve just been “standing around” and taking an occasional “long shot,” put some motion in your game. With the Holy Spirit as your Coach, try “the old give and go.”
Nate Adams is executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association. This column is reprinted with permission of the association’s Illinois Baptist newsmagazine.